A Short History and Description of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia
The Peace Officers Association of Georgia (POAG) is the oldest and largest organization of “peace officers” in Georgia. Our diverse membership includes local, state and federal officers of all ranks and duties. From corrections officers, district attorney’s to corporate security with the power of arrest in Georgia.
The motto of the Association is “In unity there is strength” a measure that members have taken great pride in over the years even in times where issues that could have divided the Association brought it closer together. The Association rich history of networking and fellowship at its meetings produce an attitude that we could always walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye; such has benefited the Association over the years.
Records indicate the Association’s existence in the early 1900’s. We know the efforts to create the Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit (POAB) fund go back to 1938. POAG was incorporated in 1950 as an organization and from the efforts of POAG on February 1st 1952 then Governor Herman Talmadge signed the law into effect creating the pension fund for Georgia peace officers.
POAG has a long record of representing the interests of ALL law enforcement officers, especially in the area of education and training. In 1962 the Executive Committee unanimously approved POAG continuing to support the establishment of a police academy; this was accomplished in Atlanta in May of 1964. In 1967, POAG sponsored legislation proposing a minimum training program for all that enter the police profession. This and other recommendations from POAG’s Executive Committee were instrumental in establishing the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) program. POAG began offering POST certified training at its annual convention in 1988, and the practice continues today. The president of POAG is a voting member of POST Council.
Another significant benefit was the 1972 POAG sponsored legislation, which provides a scholarship for dependent children of peace officers who have been permanently injured or killed in the line of duty. In 1969 the Executive Committee initiated a statewide recognition program for Georgia Officer of the Year, with separate awards for valor and meritorious service. Those individuals are introduced to the state legislature for recognition, and a Legislative Resolution is passed to honor them.
One of the most significant pieces of legislation for which POAG is responsible is that which requires the signature of a Superior Court Judge on a warrant issued against a police officer; this legislation prevented frivolous charges. Closely associated is the POAG sponsored legislation that allowed a peace officer and his witness to appear before a grand jury that would be considering an indictment of the peace officer for an act while in the performance of his duty.
The official publication of POAG is THE GEORGIA PEACE OFFICER, a quarterly magazine that contains the minutes of the monthly Committee meetings, current opinions of the state Attorney General, and features articles of interest to the membership. Its earliest publication dates are not known, but are believed to be prior to 1950. The oldest copy in possession is dated March 1952.
Throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and into the 21st century the POAG has been the cornerstone to build a foundation for a professional culture for all peace officers from Blue Ridge to Valdosta and from Tybee light to Columbus.
Today, POAG takes great pride in its ability to produce information through its website and magazine and deliver timely training for peace officers. The annual training conference provides an environment for premier training, important networking and meaningful fellowship. POAG is constantly finding ways to provide service to support peace officers in every responsibility they inherit throughout the State.
In 2012 the Peace Officers Association of Georgia Foundation was incorporated by POAG to address seven narrowly tailored, critically important and tremendously meaningful areas of need for all peace officers and is most important to the citizens they are charged to protect.
The mission of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia Foundation is to create a charitable means for individuals, organizations and corporations to donate funds, time and resources toward enhancement of the peace officer’s life, safety, education, job responsibilities and heritage.
Through the foundation, donors will provide a means for funding training, intelligence led policing implementation, academic research to document and promote “evidence based” best practices for peace officers, crime prevention education for the public, the documentation and preservation of historical records and literary material.
The Foundation will also provide scholarships to peace officers and their family members that choose to enter the profession and sustain a death benefit fund for peace officers to offset expense and financial impact.
As a result we will promote professional conduct and behavior, mitigate, prevent and reduce crime. These measures will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice community while supporting those who stand in harm’s way and put themselves between evil and disorder as duty calls them on behalf of the citizens of this State.